Muirfield Golf Club – which was one of the 10 courses which rotate the right to stage The Open Golf Championship - will not again be considered as a venue for The Open after members voted against allowing women to join the East Lothian club. A ballot of the club’s 648 voting members failed to reach the two-thirds majority required. The decision, which was announced by club captain Henry Fairweather this morning, follows a two-year membership review. The R&A instantly reacted to the vote by stating that Muirfield would not be able to host The Open again until it changed its policy. Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, stated: “The R&A has considered today’s decision with respect to The Open Championship. The Open is one of the world’s great sporting events and going forward we will not stage the Championship at a venue that does not admit women as members. Given the schedule for staging The Open, it would be some years before Muirfield would have been considered to host the Championship again. If the policy at the club should change we would reconsider Muirfield as a venue for The Open in future.”
The Muirfield club’s board had recommended that membership should be offered to women on the same terms as the men. But a 33-strong ‘No’ lobby has scuppered that proposal after sending out a letter to fellow members. Under a headline entitled "the risks", the letter states: "We are not an ordinary club. "Our special nature - 'a gentleman's club where golf is played' - is quite unique with its fraternity built inter alia on foursomes play with a round taking only the same time as lunch and leaving enough time for a further round after lunch (even in mid winter). This is one of the miracles in modern day play and is much admired. Our foursomes and speedy play would be endangered."
The letter, circulated among a group of 33 club members, said: "The introduction of lady members is bound to create difficulties. Regardless of the conventions when they first join they are likely over time to question our foursomes play, our match system, the uncompromising challenge our fine links present, our lunch arrangements. It will take a very special lady golfer to be able to do all the things that are expected of them in the template which is suggested and the ladies' membership as a whole may not meet this standard." Of the 648 eligible voters, 616 cast ballots, with 397 members in favour of admitting women. The resolution fell 14 votes short of the two-thirds majority required to pass. Muirfield is one of two clubs in the British Open rotation to exclude women. Royal Troon, site of this year’s event, is the other. Back in 2012, Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters, announced that it was opening its membership to women. Following suit two years later was the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, which is headquartered at St. Andrews, another regular British Open course. Now apparently Royal Troon announced yesterday that it had written to its 800 male members “seeking views on the issue of the admission of women members”; it may well be that there is a decision in favour before The Open starts in July this year!!??
Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon (pictured below), said Muifrield’s stance was “simply indefensible”. English golfer Melissa Reid, twice a member of Europe's Solheim Cup team, described the decision as "embarrassing". "You know it was an opportunity for Muirfield, but they've wasted it," she said. Gary Player, who won the 1959 British Open at Muirfield, released a statement on his Twitter account condemning the vote. “As much as I love and respect Muirfield as a club where I won The Open, I totally agree with the R & A that staging the championship at any venue that does not admit women as members is simply unacceptable,” he wrote. “I hope Muirfield will reconsider their position soon and continue hosting one of the world’s greatest golf events.” However Peter Allis, the BBC’s ‘voice of golf’ defended the Muirfield ban today, insisting that women can play at the club for free as guests but would baulk at paying a joining fee. He said: “The fact is if you talked to the wives of members of Muirfield they would be horrified at the prospect of being allowed to join!!”
Well there were no contentious motions in consideration to exclude any Members on the basis of religion, Nationality, sex or beliefs thankfully at the Oxshott Bridge Club last night!!?? But it was the Final Round of this year's Tilling Trophy, which is our premier competition to determine the Pairs Championship for the Year. Everyone was excited and ready for action as 12 full Tables sat down to play. You can read all about it in the Report by clicking on the "Competitions" tab in the Menu to the left of this box and clicking again on "Competitions News". Alternatively you can study the full Leaderboard and the individual Travellers by clicking on the "Latest Result" button at the top right of this page.
Good News: Congratulations must go to Richard Burgess, Philip Duncan, Deanne & Kevin Goddard who have won their Division in the Surrey League Competition this year. They now go forward to the final play-off with all our good wishes!! Also well done to Jonathan Spring & John French who came Seventh in the Mary Edwards Cup to find the best Pair in Surrey. Well done!!